A Visual Thesaurus post by Ben Zimmer is an interesting exploration of the history of a great word, scalawag:My latest column for the Boston Globe tells how Nathaniel Sharpe, a 22-year-old amateur genealogist from a small town in North...Show More Summary
Visual Thesaurus. A kind of interactive mind map.
American Dialect Society | Visual Thesaurus In a vote for 2012?s Word of the Year on Friday evening, “the slate filled with some expected choices, such as YOLO, fiscal cliff, 47 percent, and Gangnam style,” writes Ben Zimmer, linguist and … Read more
NPR | Boston Globe | Visual Thesaurus Later this week, the American Dialect Society will select its word of the year for 2012. Possibilities include YOLO and selfie, linguist Ben Zimmer told NPR, but people may already be … Read mor...
Ben Zimmer has a Visual Thesaurus post on the language of Lincoln (see this LH post) with some good examples of anachronisms that I completely missed, like "imagine the possibilities," "I like our chances," "patronage jobs," and "lame-duck...Show More Summary
Visual Thesaurus | The Economist Horsefeathers. Hogwash. Piffle. Flapdoodle. Baloney. Hooey. Hokum. Blarney. Twaddle. Poppycock. Applesauce. Tommyrot. Bushwa. You can drain your thesaurus for some time before exhausting the English language’s many words for “nonsense.” And yet Vice President… Read more
acq-hire (v.): to buy a company in order to absorb its human resources. This definition is adapted from a Visual Thesaurus piece by linguist Ben Zimmer. He traces the term to a 2005 blog post, which describes the act thusly: “When a large company ‘purchases’ a small company with no employees other than its founders, [...]
The Boston Globe | Visual Thesaurus Ben Zimmer’s Sunday language column about the word “meta” describes how it changed from meaning “above and beyond” to mean “consciously self-referential.” It is, as he writes in the clever beginning of the… Read more
I prepared these slides to entertain the crowds at the American Dialect Society’s 2011 Words of the Year vote. (See Ben Zimmer’s recap and video at Visual Thesaurus.) They got a few titters, so you might enjoy them, too. I left out the comma after “hey” in accordance with the style of the image macro [...]
American Dialect Society | Visual Thesaurus The American Dialect Society has chosen “occupy” as the 2011 Word of the Year. “It has taken on new parts of speech (as an imperative verb: ‘Occupy!’ or as an attributive noun:… Read more
Over at Visual Thesaurus, I have a column talking about how diphthong (or dipthong) has joined a family of dip-based insults, including dipstick, dipshit, and just plain dip. When I researched the column, I was surprised to learn that my imagined chronology for these insults was backwards. I first heard dipstick in the early 1980s, [...]
In the course of writing a Visual Thesaurus column on aspects of the word Halloween, I looked into the history of trick or treat. Some of the questions I had about it were: When did it become a verb, as in trick-or-treating? If its origin is indeed a threat, why is the threat said first [...]
“On the Media” | Visual Thesaurus “Occupy” is a strong contender for word of the year, says Ben Zimmer, who leads the New Words Committee of the American Dialect Society, which selected “app” last year and “tweet” in 2009.… Read mor...
Here’s an online thesaurus that gives you a graphic look at how words relate. Neat! Or otherwise tasteful, refined, clean, tidy, smashing, great groovy, nifty, or keen! Link -via Breakfast Links
Ben Zimmer's Visual Thesaurus piece "Happy 50th, Webster's Third!" has some interesting discussion with Merriam-Webster editor Peter Sokolowski about the Scripps National Spelling Bee and the "single-statement rule" for definitions pioneered...Show More Summary
Over at Visual Thesaurus, my latest column is on the annual (or at least, annually relevant) arguments over whether it’s grammatical to say that someone “graduated college” or “graduated high school” (or even “graduated elementary school”), instead of “graduated from college/high school,” etc. I talk about the different versions of graduate that take different combinations [...]
After I wrote a post about the changes in Lion's Dictionary app and made suggestions about how Apple could still improve it, I got a nice email from a reader asking if I would write an article about some other writing tools I use. One...Show More Summary
Over at Visual Thesaurus, I have a column about how and when congressman, which on its face would seem to be synonymous with member of Congress, came to refer to members of the House of Representatives to the near-exclusion of senators. I was reminded of it a few weeks ago when I heard someone on [...]
You Don't Say | Visual Thesaurus John McIntyre and Ben Zimmer have more on the "limn" headline controversy. Zimmer writes: "I'm with John McIntyre: let the headline writers have their non-scatological four-letter word, and let newspaper readers run to the dictionary every once in a while."
Ben Zimmer of Visual Thesaurus has a post on some very early examples of what we think of as text-speak. He says that Allen Walker Read, in the course of his investigation of the origin of "OK," proved that it "had emerged out of a kind of 'abbreviation play' that was popular in the U.S. in the 1830s